As at the early hours of this morning, #Nobraday has successfully beat the #endsars on the Twitter trends table with 16k tweet already at 12am. As we have seen in various other episodes of this day, social media will be packed full slot of sultry images in a bid to celebrate the day. However, as much as the culture is honoured (women leave their bras at home and go braless for the day), the whole essense of the trend which is breast cancer awareness seem to be neglected.
The theme of this year’s breast cancer awareness is #feeltheboobs. It suggests a need for increasing awearness on self breast examination and early detection of the cancer.
The No Bra Day can be traced back to July 9, 2009 which was originally Breast Reconstruction Awearness Day (BRA day). The event was held in Toronto, Canada and pioneered by Dr. Mitchell Brown. The purpose of the event was to encourage breast reconstruction for those who have had to undergo mastectomy due to breast cancer.
However, the first No Bra Day is traced back to the original BRA day as an anonymous individual under the name, Anastasia Doughnuts, conceived the event and created a website for it’s promotion. In 2014, the date for celebration of the #nobraday was moved to October 13 and has remained so since then.
Common Myths and misconceptions about Breast Cancer
There are various myths and misinformation that fly around about breast cancer, it’s causes, symptoms and prevention. Here are a few.
• Wearing Bras causes breast cancer: This notion is a very popular misconception. Some filter the idea to underwire bras attributing the cause of cancer to them. However, science and extensive research has shown that wearing an underwire bra or any other type of bra has nothing to do with breast cancer. There could only be slight pain or discomfort when worn tightly for a long period of time.
• Using deodorants can cause cancer: This is absolutely false. Though some stress that the aluminum found in deodorants could cause chemical inbalance and lead to breast cancer. These claims have been tested time and again and have been proven to be false. (Common, babes gats smell fresh)
• Stress has also been proven to have no relation with breast cancer. This is against the myth that stress can cause breast cancer.
• Mobile phones: This is another big myth. This even trended sometime ago on WhatsApp groups. Well, based on studies and research, putting your mobile phones in your chest pocket CANNOT cause or increase the risk of having breast cancer.
Risk factors of breast cancer
The risk factors of breast cancer doesn’t mean that once found in such categories, one would definitely suffer from the illness. NO. It only necessarily suggests that these people are more likely to have breast cancer. People that find themselves under these categories should pay more attention to lifestyle and prevention of breast cancer.
• Sex: Breast cancer is almost perfectly gender biased. 99% of people who suffer from the illness are women with only 1% of global occurrence found in males. This is so because by body physiology, women have more prominent and developed breast than the males. Thus, they have more likelihood to have breast cancer than the male counterparts.
• Age: Studies have shown that 65% of the global diagnosed cases are found to be 55 years and above. However, among the blacks (Nigerians inclussive) a high occurrence of breast cancer patients aged 45 and below has been recorded. Invariably, there has been more deaths among the blacks than among the those from other race.
• Family History: It is very important to note that having a relative (mother, sister, aunt, grandmother e.t.c) that has a record of having breast cancer increases the risk of one having the diseace too. Studies show too that having relations who have suffered from ovarian cancer could also increase one’s risk of having breast cancer.
There are several other risk factors which includes early mensuration, late menopause, dense breast tissues, physical inactivity, smoking and consumption of tobacco products.
Prevention and Control
Since the cause of cancer still remain unknown, prescribing preventive measures becomes difficult. Breast cancer (and cancer generally) has been found from the slim, yoga vegan to the big and rather inactivity women. However, the amount of cases found in the earlier set is found in trickles when compared to the latter. Physicians highly recommend a healthy lifestyle- proper diet and frequent workout.
• Self Examination: The #Nobraday is basically a campaign to increase awearness self breast examination for early detection of the tumor and thus better survival chances. Women are encouraged to do this at least once in a month. Here, they are to look out for any abnormality or changes in their breast.
• Clinical Examination: This is the next step and self examination. The physician uses the appropriate devices to examine the breast. Women are encouraged to visit their doctor as soon as they notice any changes in their breast or at least once in two years.
• Mammography: Mammography (also called mastography) is the process of using low-energy X-rays (usually around 30 kVp) to examine the human breast for diagnosis and screening. The goal of mammography is the early detection of breast cancer. This should be done once every two years for women aged 55 and above.